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New year, new issues 2 courses with same number = no credit

UTRGV Financial Aid Mentor Ana Estrada directs business sophomore David Gonzalez to assistance at the U Central office Jan. 7 in Brownsville. MICHELLE ESPINOZA

UT Rio Grande Valley’s first semester ended last month, but not without a few hiccups because once grades were posted, some students noticed that they didn’t get credit for certain courses.

Communication senior Sylvia Rendon said that although she received an A in a course, her academic record showed zero credit hours completed for that class.

“My credit hours did not show up for one class because both that class, [Writing for Mass Media] and [Communication Law and Ethics], that I took in Spring 2014, had the same course number,” Rendon said. “So, it was giving me credit for law and ethics, but not writing for mass media.”

Debbie Gilchrist, interim registrar and undergraduate admissions director, said that fixing this issue has a lot of ramifications.

“We’re looking at a lot of scenarios, but we don’t have a solution to it yet,” Gilchrist said. “But, it is high priority on our list to try and figure out how to take care of this issue.”

She said about 200 courses had the same course number as others in the UTRGV legacy institutions, UT Brownsville and UT Pan American. Therefore, some students who took a UTRGV course that had the same course number in either UTB or UTPA did not receive credit.

“We kind of entered new territory with creating UTRGV,” Gilchrist said. “It’s not that things were overlooked, it’s just that we didn’t know; and now that we know that this caused an issue, we’re trying to find a solution.”

Rosa Peña, Office of the Deputy Provost senior program coordinator, said the course numbers were decided by faculty members from both UTB and UTPA before the consolidation.

“Both campuses at that point, both departments, they worked together,” Peña said. “They reviewed what was offered at UTPA back then, they reviewed what was offered at UTB, and then they worked together to have only one course inventory.”

Communication Department Chair John Cook, who served on the committee, said they spent a lot of time trying to “make it work,” but it was ultimately a system error.

“So, we changed that number, which should show up in the system and say, ‘it’s not 3303 anymore it’s 4313,’ right?” Cook said about the law and ethics course. “But, I don’t know what the glitch is in the system to keep it from reading it right.”

Cook said the issue is part of the complex merger of the two universities.

“It’s not that things were overlooked, it’s just that we didn’t know; and now that we know that this caused an is-
sue, we’re trying to find a solution.”

–Debbie Gilchrist
UTRGV Interim Registrar and Undergraduate Admissions Director

“We’re trying to adapt to the changes as best we can, but we keep running into little issues like these that keep causing problems for students,” he said. “But, this course number issue is an issue. It is a challenge.”

UTRGV officials said students not receiving credit for a course they passed, should visit either the Academic Advising Center at Main 1.400, U Central in Main 1.100 or the Office of the Deputy Provost in Life and Health Sciences Building 2.402 in Brownsville. In Edinburg, students may visit Southwick Hall 101 A or U Central on the first floor of the Student Services Building.

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